Third Batch of Fela Reissues Set to be Released
Knitting Factory Records is very excited to announce the release of the third set of Fela reissues. This portion of the reissues series, entitled "Zombie" in celebration of Fela's most well known song, spans the years 1976 - 1980. Containing 11 albums, this period of Fela's storied career saw his Kalakuta Republic increasingly under siege from the Nigerian government, and the clear rise of his vitriol as it fermented into scathing musical diatribes. .
Tracks such as "Authority Stealing" and the international hit "Zombie" are great examples of Fela's unfiltered outpouring of raw anger towards the oppressive Nigerian government. Interestingly, the 1976 album Upside Down features the vocals of Sandra Isadore - the American woman who introduced Fela to the Black Power Movement. Music Of Many Colours is collaboration with American vibraphonist Roy Ayers.
The titles that are being released are:
Upside Down (1976)/Music of Many Colours (1980)
Stalemate (1977)/Fear Not For Man (1977)
Opposite People (1977)/Sorrow, Tears and Blood (1977)
Shuffering & Shmiling (1978)/No Agreement (1977)
V.I.P. (1979)/Authority Stealing (1980)
"What's fascinating about Fela's music at this point is the dichotomy between the music and the message," says Brian Long of Knitting Factory Records. "Out of context, these songs are incredibly upbeat and full of the hottest African funk, while in the context of Fela's life, when you read the lyrics and know the story, they are full of frustration and a fiery anger that was meant to lift the people into protest."
Thirteen CDs and 23 albums have already been re-released this year through this landmark reissue series, and the reaction has been rapturous as Fela's music continues to find new audiences every day. A large part of this palpable momentum is a result of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, FELA!, which is continuing it's hit run at the Eugene O'Neill Theater, while looking to open in London's West End in the fall. It is directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Bill T. Jones and produced by Shawn 'Jay-Z" Carter and Will & Jada Pinkett Smith with music by the world-renowned Antibalas and other members of the NYC Afrobeat community, under the direction of Aaron Johnson.
The next group of reissues will be released in the winter.